My 6 month period of culinary revelations has intensely begun. Since commencing classes at the French Culinary Institute, I have been humbled by how much more there is to learn. The past few weeks have been a period of cold turkey, getting a rid of my naughty kitchen habits and going back to the drawing board, learning the French way.
Last week was fish week and I learnt how to filet a fish. Since the age of 6, I have always rushed past the fish counter to avoid that stench from going too far up my nose. The thought of performing something so surgical – and that too with fish – was more information than I cared for. Trying desperately to be mature about this and leaving that 6 year old at home, I showed up to class with the fish on my cutting board, a sharpened knife and ready for action. I must confess (vegetarians, please stop reading here) that it was one of the most fascinating classes so far.
After removing the filet from it’s skeletal structure, we made the prettiest looking fish ‘goujonettes’. Fish goujonettes are thin and long slices of hand rolled filets that are crisped by dipping in flour, egg and breadcrumbs. Served with a red pepper mayonnaise, a small additional step that will greatly appeal to the sophisticati, this is a perfect feature for any drinks and appetizer evening.
Fried Fish and Parsely
2 quarts oil
Flounder – 1lb
Salt and Pepper
5oz all purpose flour
2 whole eggs
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
Red Pepper Mayonnaise
1 Deseeded red pepper, finely sliced
1 clove of garlic
Salt and pepper
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 cup Mayonnaise
2 tablespoons oil
Fish Goujonettes Preparation
1) Finely slice the fish in long slices (4cm x 1cm)
2) Keep the fish chilled until ready to use
3) Assemble your coating ingredients in the correct order
- Dish with flour mixed with a little salt and pepper
- Dish with egg mixture (eggs combined with salt, and 2T oil)
- Dish with breadcrumbs
4) In a saucepan on medium heat, sweat the red peppers and garlic with a splash of water. Cover and cook on low heat for approximately 20 minutes. Once the peppers are tender, season with salt, pepper and cayenne and blend to a puree. Set aside to cool.
1) Heat 2 quarts of oil to 350 degrees (or check by inserting a wooden spoon and if it steadily bubbles, the oil is ready for frying)
2) Roll the fish pieces between your hands to form pointed ends
3) Dredge the fish slices in flour and brush of excess, dip it in the egg mixture and roll in the breadcrumbs
4) Fry the fish in small batches until golden brown and drain on paper towels
5) One the fish is fried, fry the dried parsley in 2-3 batches for approx 15 seconds and drain on paper towel
Red Pepper Dipping Sauce
1) Mix the cooled red pepper sauce with one cup of mayonnaise and 2tblsp oil
Serve as a main course with some sweet potato fries or as an appetizer with lemon wedges
Pearls of Wisdom
Do not skip on any part of the breading steps, the flour sticks tightly to the fish and provides a protective layer, the egg is a glue and the breadcrumbs provide the final crunch.